Rating:
Area: San Francisco Peninsula
Distance: 5 miles
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 800ft (from 0 to 320ft)

Whether you're in search of tranquility, great views or a little history lesson - Angel Island is the perfect choice.

Situated in the middle of the San Francisco Bay and surrounded by water on all sides, the short ferry journey to the island transports you away from, the hustle of the city and into a different world.

This five mile walking tour around the island's circumference takes in most of the major sights and curiosities, including military batteries and barracks, the immigration station known as the Ellis Island of the west" and picture perfect views all around the bay.

The island is accessible from Pier 39/41 at the heart of Fisherman's Wharf, or from a separate ferry service operating from Tiburon. Be sure to plan ahead as services to the island are limited and you'll want to make sure you'll have enough time to experience the best of the island before jumping on the last ferry home.

Be sure to explore our map for more information on this trail including photos and descriptions of the points of interest along the way.

Tangents:
- Official: Angel Island California State Park
- AllTrails: Angel Island Perimeter Loop


Rating:
Area: Lassen
Distance: 1 miles
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 250ft (from 2,750 to 2,900ft)

Without question Burney Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the state. The 129ft waterfall thrills visitors to McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park all year round, even when the California summer has dried up every other waterfall around.

Located in the Cascade mountains, forty miles north of Lassen Volcanic National Park the falls are given their longevity by the release of melt-water from porous volcanic rock from the surrounding mountains.

Two large streams cascade from the top of the falls and are accompanied by curtains of water fed from underground streams, creating a unique and grand appearance to the waterfall.

Our one mile journey loops around the falls in a clockwise direction, beginning with an overlook from above the waterfall and descending into the valley towards the foot of the attraction. With the falls hidden from view for much of the trail, we can focus on the interpretive signs on the nature trail and enjoy the shade that the park's greenery provides.

The crescendo of the trail reaches its peak at the bottom of Burney Falls where you can experience the force nature from up close. The return journey is along a short set of switchbacks which afford even more views of the falls.

Tangents:
- Official: McArthur Burney Falls Memorial SP
- AllTrails: Burney Falls Loop Trail


Rating:
Area: Lassen
Distance: 2 miles
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 300ft (from 5,800 to 6,000ft)

On a clear day the short and easy 2 mile loop hike around sparkling Manzanita Lake is the perfect introduction to Lassen Volcanic National Park, showcasing as it does some the best features of the park - including the glacier strewn Lassen Peak and the young Chaos Crags massif. In fact it was an enormous rockfall collapse of Chaos Crags which cut off a local creek and created this lake - be sure to check out our Chaos Crags article for a tour of the rockfall known as Chaos Jumbles.

This spot is favored not only by hikers and photographers but also fishing enthusiasts in search of rainbow, brown and brook trout. Thankfully the lake is limited to non-motorized boats, keeping the lakeside relatively quiet. Kayaks can be rented near the boat launch area - check the nearby campground store for details.

Situated by the northern entrance of the park, the lake is conveniently located by the historic visitor center and the large Manzanita Creek campground. Noise from the park road does infiltrate the peace of the lake somewhat, but its a price you pay for the convenience. If you prefer a quieter lake experience, check out our Cluster Lakes article.

Snow covers the Lassen landscape for much of the year and some roads and trails may not be open - even in summer. Check the links in our tangents section to find updated information on road closures, trail closures and campground status.

Tangents:
- Official: Lassen Volcanic National Park
- AllTrails: Manzanita Lake Loop


Rating:
Area: Lassen
Distance: 0-1 mile
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 50ft (at 4,300ft)

Twenty thousand years ago and just 15 miles north of Lassen Volcanic National Park, the ground broke apart and huge volumes of volcanic rock poured forth to create the enormous expanse that is the Hat Creek Lava Flow. Exposed to the air, the top of the lava flow began to cool and solidify, while molten rock below continued to flow - insulated by the now solid roof and creating lava tubes which carried the red-hot rock miles from its source.

Subway Cave is a section of lava tube less than a third of a mile long, located between two areas of ceiling cave-ins. Substantial concrete steps have been constructed at both ends of the cave, providing easy access for all would-be spelunkers.

Flashlights are a necessity in the cave, but forgetful folk may be able to rent them from the information center at Old Station just south of the Subway Cave park. Jackets are recommended too since the cave has a cool atmosphere despite outside temperatures.

Subway Cave is open between May and October only as winter weather conditions restrict access during other times of the year.

Tangents:


Rating:
Area: Tahoe
Distance: 9½ miles
Type: Out-and-back
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation gain: 3,500ft (from 6,400 - 9,735ft)

The jewel in the crown of mountains which ring Lake Tahoe, Mt. Tallac promises unparalleled views from its summit 9,735ft above sea level.

Our trail map takes you to the top via the most direct summer route; through lush forest, along scenic ridgelines, past small alpine lakes and across blazingly colorful wildflower strewn high-altitude meadows. Sure the 3,500ft elevation gain is greater than you might experience on most day hikes, but both the journey and the destination are worth every single thigh-burning step.

June to October is the best time to hike Tallac and although some snow may prevail at higher elevations until late July, it's unlikely to cause problems for hikers. Summer thunderstorms are common from mid afternoon, so we recommend an early start to avoid being exposed at high elevations at these times.

Remember to register for your Desolation Wilderness permit at the Mount Tallac trailhead, which is thankfully free to day hikers. Backpackers are required to arrange their paid permit in advance.

Tangents:
- Official: Lake Tahoe Basin, Tallac Trailhead
- AllTrails: Mount Tallac Trail